Graduation Testimony Key Verse: Matthew 2:2 “We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” There are three important lessons I have learned during my time at UWM: 1) Partying and drinking every week is boring and redundant. 2) It is important to juggle your work life, school life, and social life so that you won’t drive yourself insane. 3) Life is meaningless without God. Many college students generally figure out the first two lessons some time halfway through their time spent at college, but not all are blessed with hearing the spoken words of Jesus. When I began my life at college, I didn’t have any urge at all to hear about God’s promise in Jesus, nor for that matter did I want to devote my time to studying the Bible. I wanted to live the kind of college life that one sees in the movies, one that consisted of going to wild parties and having non-stop fun. However, life is far different than it is in the movies, and in fact for the most part, when I wasn’t working or studying, I was generally sleeping. It wasn’t until my third year at college that I first heard God’s word. One day Pastor Paul Dang approached me in the hallway and he asked me if I was interested in Bible study. I figured, “Why not?” If anything, if I got bored with the subject I could always give up. And at first that’s how Bible study went, I studied on and off with Shepherd Andrew Mork. Then after about a year, the Bible study came to a temporary halt. However, I kept running into Pastor Paul in the union, and after a while decided maybe it was time to begin Bible study. Pastor Paul proved to be one persistent fellow; he didn’t give up on me, despite my reluctance at times. I often felt that I didn’t deserve God’s love or patience. There are far better people better equipped than myself who can handle God’s word. However, when reading the Gospel of Luke, there was a parable I came across called The Parable of the Lost Son. In it, Jesus tells about two sons who live with their father. The younger son decides he wants to set out on his own, and asks his father for his share of the estate. The father gives his son the money, and the son sets out on his own. The younger son squanders all his money on needless things and it isn’t long before he finds himself broke. He takes a job feeding pigs for a citizen in the city. The son comes to his senses and decides to come back to his father; he decides that when he sees his father he will say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.” The son sets off to see his father. When the father sees his younger son coming, he runs out, throws his arms around his son and kisses him. The son is surprised by his father’s response and tells him that he is not worthy to be called his son. However, the father dresses his son in his finest robes and holds a feast in his honor. The older son hears about his younger brother’s return and is infuriated over the fact that his father is treating his younger brother so good. He says to his father, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never once gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.” The father says, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” If I had to choose one passage in the Bible that fills me with hope it would be this one. The Parable of the Lost Son is a story I can relate to, because for a time I was a lost son. My way of thinking was very limited. My parents supported me a great deal through college, yet for the most part I shrugged off their support. I didn’t feel like I owed them any debt, because I was a college student, I was out to make a difference in the world. However, college can be a scary place when you have no one there to support you. It wasn’t until I moved away from my parents that I could appreciate all that they have done for me. They could have kicked me out of the house, told me to fend for myself, but they have supported me. And I am grateful for that. The same applies to God. I felt I didn’t need the support of God. I didn’t need to think about Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind. I took both God and Jesus for granted. However, I then began to see how aimless life is without a God. People who I thought were my friends disappeared completely from my life; the parties that I once found to be fun were now boring and predictable, and in the college world it is never guaranteed that you will get the classes you want. I was on the verge of slipping into a world of fatalism, but after reading about Jesus, I realize that all my problems are nothing compared to the suffering Jesus endured. Jesus was the perfect son, he did everything his father told him to, and he did it all for the salvation of mankind. There was not a selfish bone in his body. Despite constant betrayal he received from the disciples; he still opened their hearts to them. Any one is worthy to receive the love of Jesus, as long as they are willing to open their hearts up to him. I am far from being the perfect Christian, I often have a hard time writing testimonies, coming to service, and often it is hard for me to grasp verses in the bible. However, the one thing I know without a doubt is that Jesus was the son of God, and that he died for our sins. His suffering, resurrection and forgiveness give me hope. I am no longer a fatalist. I have been given a purpose in life to become a better Christian, to learn God’s word, and to give hope to my fellow man. I pray to God that I may do his word justice, and that I may become a great man in his eyes. I pray to God that after graduation I continue to study his word, and be inspired by it. I pray to God that every one I encounter can be blessed by God’s word. Like the Magi, I have come from afar (not nearly as far as the Magi) to worship Jesus. I pray that I can continue to do so in the future. I thank God that he blessed my college life with getting to know his word through Bible study. I thank God that through Bible study, that I was given a goal in life. I don’t think had I ever gotten to know Jesus that I would still be leading an aimless life. With Jesus there is hope. There is a reason to look forward to the future, and to go out and do your best. Bible study has made me realize that there are more things important in life than praise from your friends, making money, and finding a career. These things are important, but they are meaningless in the long run. Money can buy your material goods, but it can’t buy you happiness, forgiveness, or salvation. The friends who praise you one day may turn their backs on you the next day, and a career is something that can support you up until your death. Jesus, on the other hand, is eternal. He is always with mankind, and through faith and devotion, you will be united with Jesus at your death. This is a far more rewarding picture than working at a job that can only take you so far in life. I wish to offer up my heart, my devotion, and my life to Jesus, just like the Magi offered up gold, myrrh, and incense as gifts to the baby Jesus. These are the three finest gifts I can think of giving to the Lord, and I pray that Jesus gives me the strength, faith, and patience to make good on my offerings. One Word: Jesus is the King, worthy of my worship.